League Top 20 Prospects

Florida State League Top 20 Prospects Chat With Jim Shonerd

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Jim Shonerd: Hey, everyone. Thanks for stopping by. Let's get into some FSL talk.

    Frank (Chicago): Is Darin Gorski someone to keep an eye on? Is he someone who is considered to be not as good as his numbers?

Jim Shonerd: St. Lucie lefty Darin Gorski was the FSL's pitcher of the year and its ERA leader, but yeah, his prospect status doesn't match up with his 11-3, 2.08 mark. He pitches at 90-91 mph with his fastball and throws strikes, but his breaking ball will limit him.

    Henry (Toronto): Is Wojo a future SP or RP? Prospect or suspect?

Jim Shonerd: Guys believed in Wojciechowski enough as a starter, though his command got away from him at times this year. He just doesn't have anything that's above average in his 89-91 fastball, his changeup and a slider he's trying to tighten.

    Nelson (Tacoma, WA): Nice to see AJ Jiminez getting some props. Do you see him moving up to New Hampshire next year?

Jim Shonerd: Absolutely.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): Who would you say has the higher ceiling between Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez, and why?

Jim Shonerd: Interesting. I might give Martinez the higher ceiling just because arms like his are so rare, but Miller's isn't behind by much and at this point he looks like a safer bet to reach it, hence his higher ranking.

    Greg T (London): Hi Jim. Did Dunedin righty Nestor Molina get any consideration for the Top 20? Looks like he put up some impressive numbers! Thanks!

Jim Shonerd: Molina was close, and you'll be able to read a scouting report on him in the Prospect Pulse section of the upcoming print and digital editions of the magazine. In short, he's got two quality offerings in his 91-93 mph fastball and his splitter. He was a reliever until this year, so he's still working on developing a consistent breaking pitch.

    Jordan (Milwaukee, WI): How close was Scooter Gennett to the top 20? Did scouts give any comps when watching him?

Jim Shonerd: Gennett wasn't too close to the Top 20, but guys did like him some. Nothing he does blows you away, but he's a tough out. He can slash the ball to all fields and puts together good at-bats.

    Ben (Leland Grove): How did scouts evaluate Cesar Puello's season overall?

Jim Shonerd: Puello would've been in the 21-23 range. He definitely has tools, but he still struggles to recognize breaking pitches and the Mets have been trying to take away a hook in his swing. He hit some monster HRs and showed he has the speed for center field at least for now. He started the year in right and moved to center after Matt den Dekker was promoted, and he has the arm to fit in right if that's where he needs to be.

    @Jaypers413 (IL): What are your thoughts on Lakeland's Avisail Garcia and Daniel Fields? Who are you higher on?

Jim Shonerd: Fields and Garcia finished second and third, respectively, in the FSL in strikeouts, so not surprisingly, observers cited their having too much swing and miss. I would put Garcia higher, but neither were close to the Top 20. Garcia has power and the arm to be right fielder, but he struggles with breaking pitches and there were some who felt his power was the product of strength and not bat speed. Fields was repeating the FSL and seemed to regress this year, dropping from .240/.343/.371 last year to .220/.308/.326. Guys didn't like his swing nor his ability to put together at-bats. Not a good combination.

    Mike (Chicago): any other cubs that were close to making the list?

Jim Shonerd: Junior Lake got some support. He has good actions and a strong arm at shortstop along with bat speed and raw power at the plate, but there were questions about how much he'll be able to hit at upper levels. He doesn't control the strike zone at this point and swings and misses too much.

    bill (Florida): What more can bortnick do?

Jim Shonerd: Charlotte second baseman Tyler Bortnick got some positive reviews. He plays steady defense and hits the ball to all fields with doubles power, but nothing really stood out from a tools standpoint.

    Dan (Chicago): Obviously it's tough to make any top 20 as a reliever but did you hear anything about Aaron Kurcz? Is he still showing the plus stuff he displayed last year at Boise?

Jim Shonerd: Kurcz worked as a starter until June, going 2-2, 3.72 before moving back to the bullpen. He was able to touch 93 mph early in outings but wasn't able to hold that velocity. His changeup looked alright but his curveball did not impress.

    Matt (Pittsburgh): Hi Jim...how close was Robbie Grossman to making the list? He put together an extremely well-rounded season. Thanks!

Jim Shonerd: They play different positions, but Grossman's otherwise similar to Bortnick as a well-rounded guy who doesn't have any carrying tools. Bradenton's right fielder, Grossman does have good on-base ability, but he's a tweener.

    Jerred G (Elizabethtown, pa): Did Swagerty not have enough innings>

Jim Shonerd: Palm Beach righty Jordan Swagerty did qualify, having worked as a starter in the first half before the Cardinals moved him to relief to limit his innings. He was able to run his fastball up to 94 mph out the pen and pitches aggressively, but the rest of his stuff—a curve and change—didn't stand out.

    @ProspectD2J (Toronto): Scouts are super high on the tools of Aaron Hicks and Wilmer Flores. At this point, which of these players is closest to converting those tools into skills and reaching their potential?

Jim Shonerd: I would give the edge there to Flores because of his feel for hitting being more advanced, which was the biggest reason for his making the list in spite of his numbers dropping off.

    Ben (Leland Grove): Did Chad James come anywhere close to making the list?

Jim Shonerd: James wasn't that close. He competes well and has a good feel for his changeup, but guys just didn't see his stuff being anything special. He could get his fastball up to 93, but it also dipped into the high 80s at times. He'll have to be a command and pitchability guy to succeed.

    @ProspectD2J (Toronto): Everyone knows about the Cardinals top two pitching prospects Shelby Miller and Carlos Martinez. What can you tell us about this next trio? John Gast, Joe Kelly and Jordan Swagerty. Who got the best reviews?

Jim Shonerd: Touched on Swagerty already. Gast looks like more of a back-end guy. He touches 91-92 mph but he pitches in the high 80s and is a finesse pitcher all the way. On the other end of the spectrum, Kelly can get up to 95 mph but he'll never be a command guy. His curveball got slurvy at times, and both it and his changeup rated as average. Kelly also has a long arm action and throws a bit across his body, though it's nothing too bad.

    Roger (Greenville, SC): Is 2013 a reasonable ETA for Lee?

Jim Shonerd: I think so. Probably mid-2013.

    avi (brooklyn): Any yankees get consideration for the list?

Jim Shonerd: Wasn't a lot to see in Tampa, prospect-wise. Nobody was very close. Abraham Almonte, their center fielder, did get some mention as a guy who can run and throw and has some strength.

    Grant (NYC): Your impressions of Jiwan James this season?

Jim Shonerd: Same boat as Puello, as far as him being a toolsy guy whose pitch recognition holds him back. James probably has more speed but a lesser arm and less raw power. He has nice bat speed but is overaggressive right now and doesn't control the zone.

    Norman (San Jose): how close were the top 6? offensively, how do you see Lee evolving? high OBP, 30-40 steals guy?

Jim Shonerd: Miller and Harvey were the clear top two, the rest were fairly interchangeable. I don't think that's unreasonable for Lee, and he'll mix in plenty of doubles and triples.

    James (Philly): How close were Jonathan Pettibone and Julio Rodriguez to making the list? What can you tell us about their stuff?

Jim Shonerd: Pettibone was closer to making it. He gets his fastball up to 95 mph with good downhill angle and he has a decent changeup. There weren't any major knocks on him, except that he just doesn't miss many bats (6.43 K/9). Rodriguez had the best year, statistically, on Clearwater's rotation, but he's the least prospecty of the group. Fringy 87-91 mph fastball. Big, lazy curveball that got as low as 65 mph at times. He's a strikethrower who has deception and mixes his stuff well, but he'll have to prove himself at each level.

    Minneapolitan (Nashville): He doesn't belong on this list, obviously, but Alex Wimmers probably would have been a likely candidate for it coming into the season. Can you tell us anything about whether his last month and a half or so showed anything of Alex Wimmers, first rounder? Or do we stay in a holding pattern until he shows he can find the catcher's glove for an entire season?

Jim Shonerd: Wimmers actually didn't log enough innings to qualify, but he probably wouldn't have made it anyway. He was 87-89 mph. He showed he could move the ball around and change speeds well, but guys just didn't see anything special there, even though his results were decent after he got back in Fort Myers' rotation.

    Zack Wheeler (St Lucie): Where would I have ranked on your list, had I pitched enough IP?

Jim Shonerd: Probably somewhere in that 3-7 range. Like I mentioned earlier, you could've put that group in a number of different orders and made a case for it.

    Jon (Tampa): I'm pleasantly surprised by the Colome ranking. Do scouts think he can actually harness that top of the rotation stuff?

Jim Shonerd: Tough call. He's a long-limbed guy who has a tendency to overthrow, and it's easy to see why he could end up in the 'pen. But his stuff is tantalizing when he stays under control.

    Jon KK (Elkhart, Ind.): What's the report on Kentrail Davis?

Jim Shonerd: The most common refrain was that guys would've liked him more if he could be a center fielder. He's a good runner, but center looked like a stretch since he wasn't too instinctive out there. He has the strength and bat speed to hit for power, but he doesn't turn on balls the way you'd like.

Jim Shonerd: That'll have to do it for me. Thanks again for supporting BA and enjoy tonight's playoff games. Come back tomorrow for John Manuel's Eastern League chat.